The following tips will help restore confidence to your work life, social life, relationships and yourself.
1. Get to know yourself
It's important to know what’s holding you back before you can conquer it. Is it fear of failure or emotional instability that's motivating your insecurity?
"Low self-esteem is not a permanent condition. One person can go to work and be very confident, and then the same person can go to a party and experience low self-esteem," says Maryam Yassini, a certified professional life coach. "It's a condition that’s brought on by your environment." Discover which environments trigger bouts of low self-esteem for you by communication with a therapist, life coach, friends and family or even keeping a journal.
"Get to know yourself and what’s important to you. Once you know that, you can begin to understand and live by your own values," she says. "From this, confidence and self-esteem will grow."
2. Face your fears
Perhaps it's a fear of public speaking that’s turned you into a veritable wallflower at board meetings, or a fear of rejection that stops you from asking the cute barista for his number, but it's time to tackle whatever it is that has you shaking at the knees. The anticipation of the attempt might feel like torture, but the sense of accomplishment that will breed from your courageous act will do far more for your confidence than if you avoid it.
3. Think positive
"In coaching, we work with 'saboteurs,'" explains Yassini. "It's that little voice in the back of your head that's like a warning system based on your past experiences. Those experiences sometimes stop you from achieving what you want to achieve."
People with low self-esteem tend to focus on their "weaknesses" – the areas in life in which they feel the least capable, and all the things they can't have or do because of it – contributing to feelings of depression and self-loathing.
Make time each day to focus on all the things you do have, your strengths and your past accomplishments, using affirmations or visualization. "It's important to remember that you can't change overnight, but every day you can make a positive step forward. The first step is to stop the negative self-talk," says Yassini.
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4. Get physical
Whether or not your low confidence levels are because of your appearance, embracing an active lifestyle is a sure-fire way to give your self-esteem a boost. Getting into shape will up your confidence in so many areas in life (especially the bedroom!), and the steady flow of endorphins will increase your happiness and energy levels and lower feelings of anxiety and stress.
5. Wardrobe update
Even if it's just one new outfit (or ten), upgrading your closet might be the easiest way to begin the change to a more confident you at work and in your personal life. Proper grooming and a well-made suit or an expensive dress makes others sit up and take notice, elicits esteem-boosting compliments and suggests that you take your job and yourself seriously.
It's easier said than done, but taking the time to relax on a regular basis will help train your mind to act more calmly in stress-inducing situations. Insecure people waste a lot of energy worrying about the possibility of failure or how they're being perceived, whereas a confident person is more relaxed and possess the ability to roll with the punches. The skills acquired through meditative activities like yoga, jogging or actual meditation teach you to cope with challenging situations and to enjoy the process as much as the outcome.
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